SawStop Assembly #5: Bob Van Dyke's Multi-Purpose Rip Fence JIG

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 05-07-2016 03:51 AM 5855 reads 5 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Crosscut Sled for Large Panels Completed Part 5 of SawStop Assembly series Part 6: Making Van Dyke's RIP Fence JIG »

Since I now have a new SawStop PCS table saw I have been looking for a good example or plan so I can make a universal rip fence JIG for cutting rabbets and tenons on my new table saw.

Just this past week someone published on YouTube an old video that was used in a Fine Woodworking Magazine article published in December 2012. The article covered a rip fence JIG Bob Van Dyke designed for his SawStop’s rip fence. He bolts onto the JIG sacrificial boards for cutting rabbets and raised panels. He also bolts on a melamine taller board when he wants to cut tenons for joinery. I like his system.

This is the JIG I want to make for myself. I have already begun to rip the boards in order to make it. Before I can start to drill holes in the JIG, I need help in determining the size of the bolts Bob is using in his video. The plan Fine Woodworking published does specify their size, nor for the T-nuts they screw or fasten into. I am guessing the bolts and T-nuts are 5/16 inches in diameter. If someone on this site has built this JIG or can detect the bolt size from watching the video, I would like to hear from you. To me the bolts look larger that 1/4 inch and not as big as a 3/8 inch bolt with its washers. What do you think the size of the bolts are? I would appreciate your help, especially if you have built this rip fence JIG yourself.

I also intend to build Bob's L Fence JIG for my SawStop… I like it too…

-- --- Happy Howie

7 comments so far

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16 posts in 1924 days

#1 posted 05-07-2016 12:07 PM

I would use 1/4-20 cap screws. These will provide more than enough clamping force, if you think they aren’t adequate add another 1 or 2. To quote Tom Lipton: “nothing too strong ever broke”. Don’t over think this and lose sight of what you are doing. You are building a sacrificial fixture to help you to do safer and better work. If you were building a reproduction for the “Bob Van Dyke Museum” that would be different.

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485 posts in 3108 days

#2 posted 05-07-2016 02:21 PM

You have made a good point. You caught me trying to over engineer the task.

The only size reference in Bob’s plan was the size of the counterbore for the Tee Nut. I tried to reengineer the size of the Tee Nut’s diameter of 1 inch. Curiously he epoxied the Tee nuts instead of simply hammering them in place.

-- --- Happy Howie

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485 posts in 3108 days

#3 posted 05-08-2016 07:39 AM

I decided not to use 1/4 inch – 20 T-nuts. After some thought I decided to use 3/8 inch machine screws or bolts with their corresponding 3/8 inch T-nuts. Although these T-nuts can be pounded into the plywood main fence to hold them in place, I will use my epoxy glue with its fast hardener spray. Bob Van Dyke himself used epoxy on the rip fence JIG he designed.

Saturday I had all the wood pieces cut to near final dimensions. Plus, I marked every location where a T-nut and bolt will be use. Tomorrow I will drill the counterbores so the T-nuts will fit flush to their surfaces plus I will drill the 7/16 inch holes from the opposite surfaces so the T-Nuts can fit into these holes and the machine screws or bolts can fit through them and anchor into the T-nuts. Finding the right size and type of machine screws took several trips to different stores.

I worked late into Saturday evening.

-- --- Happy Howie

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485 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 05-09-2016 05:52 AM

Hanging on my north wall is the miter corner sled I made that fits my Porter Cable table saw. I used it yesterday to cut the top corner on my toggle clamping block.

This image below shows the toggle clamping block attached to my new mortising jig. I have ordered some new star knobs to fit in these jigs parts. They are scheduled for delivery here this Tuesday.

-- --- Happy Howie

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485 posts in 3108 days

#5 posted 05-17-2016 07:06 AM

I was very nervous about getting the holes drilled for the T-nuts and the corresponding holes for the machine screws misaligned or off slightly.

NEED TO BE PRECISE; ASSURE ALIGNMENT OF THE JOINING FENCES: BASE UNIT AND DISPOSABLE FENCES unit because of some slight misalignment. Therefore, I took extra care to not only mark the locations of the holes to be drilled, but I also clamped the two faces together I then by using a drill guide I took a small drill bit like 7/65 inches and drilled small holes through both faces. Marking the JIGs removable faces this way as a start to getting the JIG aligned correctly, precisely. Extra care was also taken at my drill press to make sure the center of the pre-drilled holes set well with any drill bit’s pointy end in my floor drill press. My laser drill guide was used but not counted on as the only guide to aligning these bits up correctly.


I think it would be helpful for others who want to make this rip fence JIG to know the order of work I used to build this JIG.

Order of Tasks to Build Bob Van Dyke’s Rip Fence JIG

1. With a metal ruler and a pencil I laid out the front or taller fence of the base unit of this jig. I made this fence slightly taller that Bob’s design. This side of the fence Bob made 5 1/2 inches tall by 36 inches long with 3/4 inch thick Baltic Birch plywood. I also used 3/4 inch thick Baltic Birch plywood. I also cross-cut my plywood fence sheets to 36 inches long. Instead of 5 1/2 inches tall for this side of the fence, I made mine 6 inches tall; taller must be better? Well, maybe. Since I decided to use 3/8 inch sized T-nuts, I wanted to make sure my fence that would be receiving these T-nuts would be tall enough above the 1 1/2 inch thick cross piece member dadoed into the two fences that straddled my SawStop rip fence. This was my main reason for making this side of the fence taller than the plan by 1/2 inch. That condition or additional 1/2 inch height cascades through the rest of the fences I will be making for this rip fence jig.

2. Once I had all of the drill holes marked with a pencil I punched a small hole to start the drill bit with a scratch awl.

3. For all of my MDF removable fences I sized them to match this side of the RIP fence jig: 3/4” thick by 6 inches tall by 36 inches long. I ripped all MDF fences from one 3/4 inch thick MDF sheet. Then I cross-cut those pieces using a stop block to 36 inches long. I prepared three MDF removable fences for drilling holes for the machine screws and T-nuts plus the 1 1/4 inch diameter hanging hole.

4. On the other fence side of the base, four holes are to be drilled for the toggle clamp’s spindle to fit through to hold the JIG to the SawStop’s rip fence. Actually four holes are drilled with a 1 1/4 inch Forstner bit. I marked these drill holes 2 3/4 inch in from both ends of the fence and half the distance between the bottom of the fence to the cross member holding the two base unit’s fences together in DADO slots cut nearly 1/4 inch deep. I cut those dadoes on my Porter Cable contractor saw. I snuck up on the fit. It was a snug fit.

Note: For the last little cut on the table saw, I did not move the saw’s fence. To cut two or three more thousandths of an inch more of the DADO by just simply placing more weight with my arms on the piece in order to push or pressure it into the saw’s rip fence. That act alone gave me a nice snug fit into these dadoes.

5. I took a small 7/64 inch drill bit and drilled pilot holes into the six inch tall base face. After that I clamped an MDF fence under this fence, then with a handheld drill with the same 7/64 inch bit and a drill guide, I drilled pilot holes into the MDF fences.


6. I bought a melamine shelving board at a home center in order to make my two tall melamine fences. The shelving board measured 3/4 inches thick, by 11 3/4 inches wide by 97 inches long. I decided to leave one fence 11 3/4 inches tall. Since the base fence I made was 1/2 inch taller than Bob’s plan, I decided I would make my other melamine fence 1/2 inch taller than Bob’s fence. This additional 1/2 inch makes the other melamine fence 8 inches tall.

I cross-cut the two melamine fences to 36 inches in length. Then I ripped the shorter fence to 8 inches. I kept the finished edge for my tenon cutting fence so both of my melamine fences with have these finished smooth edges at the top of the removable fence.

7. I then made pilot holes in these melamine fences like I did with the MDF fences.


8. I measured the depth of the T-nuts head to be approximately 3/32 inches. I would set my drill press stop to slightly more than this depth into the 3/4 inch thick fences I would now be drilling with Forstner bits. For the 3/8 inch T-nuts I needed to use a 1 inch diameter Forstner bit to snuggly fit the T-nuts within. After drilling the first hole I checked its fit for diameter and depth. The first hole was a bit deeper than I needed so I raised the stop some and rechecked the next hole. It was okay and I used that stop for all the remaining counterbores for the seven T-nuts that will be fastened to the taller fence on the JIG’s base unit.

Since no other fence requires a T-nut, I put away the 1 inch Forstner bit.

9. The T-nuts I purchased has a diameter for the threaded bolt of 7/16 inches. Also its depth into the plywood needed a hole drilled 1/2 inches deep. I selected a 7/16 inch diameter drill bit and set my drill press’s stop to 1/2 inches depth. I drilled those holes into the base unit’s fence by using the pre-drilled holes as my guide that were still visible in the counterbored holes.

10. I then flipped the fence over and with a 3/8 inch drill bit, I drilled those seven holes by using the pre-drilled holes as my guide. I punched the hole through the remainder portion of the plywood fence. This completed the drilling necessary for the T-nut assembly.

11. I waited to drill the 1 1/4 inch hanging holes in this fence and the other fences. However, I did drill the two sets of 1 1/4 inch holes on the base unit’s other shorter fence. These twin holes are made so the rubber end of the toggle clamp’s spindle can hold the rip fence jig up and tightly against the SawStop’s rip fence.


12. With a long wrench socket that had a diameter that fit the 3/8 inch T-nuts diameter of one inch and with my bottle of epoxy glue and spray bottle of epoxy hardener, I applied epoxy in the counterbored hole, sprayed the hardener on the T-nut, and then hammered in the T-nut so it was flush or deeper into its counterbored hole. I did this process for all seven T-nuts into the base unit’s taller fence.


13. The washer diameter in which the 3/8 inch panhead machine screws or bolts fit requires a counterbore of 7/8 inch diameter. I measured the depth of the panhead screw with a washer with my digital calipers to be slightly over 1/4 inch depth.

14. With a 7/8 inch Forstner bit and with my drill press’ stop, I drilled the counterbored holes for the seven machine bolts that will fasten each fence to the jig’s base unit through its T-nuts.


15. I used a 3/8 inch drill bit in my drill press to drill holes through the remainder of the MDF and/or melamine boards. I did this with the machine screw and washer counterbored holes facing up so I could precisely place the drill bit onto the pilot hole. I cleaned up any remaining materials loosely connected to the fence with a hand chisel.


16. With my 1 1/4 inch Forstner bit in my drill press I drilled the two hanging holes on each end of the MDF and melamine fences. This completed the holes drilling requirement to fasten this JIG.

Note: After I had hammered in the T-nuts in step 12 above, I glued and clamped the base unit fences together with the cross member fitting into the dado slots. I used Titebond I yellow glue. I let it stay in the clamps for approximately 45 minutes. Also I had not given any thought to how I was going to fasten the toggle clamps to the shorter base unit fence. I guess I assumed I would be using wooden screws. That is the method I am left to perform. However, if I had thought ahead I might have chosen to use short 1/4 inch – 20 tpi Hex bolts with washer and lock washers with nuts to fasten the toggle clamps to its fence. If I had decided on this procedure then I would have drilled counterbored holes on the inside of its base unit’s fence so these bolts could be used in this JIG.


17. I bought nice, expensive, steel 3/8 – 16 by 1 inch long machine screws, or bolts at my “go to” speciality hardware store. In addition, I also bought washers to use with these 3/8 machine screws. After all of the fences had been drilled and readied for assembly, I tested fit one MDF fence to the base unit. My machine screws are pan headed but they use an allen hex tool to fasten it down into the T-nut sockets. For the first test of fitting a fence it took some force to screw these bolts on tightly. I also used a metal straight edge to check if the fence was fastened to the base unit flat and straight. The middle machine screw had to be tightened down a few more turns to get the fence flat. It worked.

I assume it will get easier to do as I use this JIG more and more. I hope so…


I had to order longer spindles with rubber ends for the toggle clamps I bought at my local Woodcraft store. I determined that the existing spindles were M8 1.25 sized bolts. The toggle clamps were made to hold things on the same surface that the clamps where fastened to. In this rip fence jig that surface is actually about an inch deeper that the mounting surface. The spindles have to reached through the 3/4 inch thick plywood and touch the SawStop’s rip fence inside the jig. I determined I needed a bolt almost 3 inches long. In metric that is about 80 millimeters. I ordered new spindles or bolts 90 mm in length. I found a supply source online and where I could order them from I got 2-day delivery. They were ordered on Thursday or Friday. I received delivery on Monday.

For the melamine fences I need to make a JIG per Bob’s plan to hold a lumber piece square and safely to the fence while pushing it across the saw blade. I will be cutting and making that JIG in the next day or so…

-- --- Happy Howie

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485 posts in 3108 days

#6 posted 05-18-2016 03:25 AM

I completed making my copy of Bob Van Dykes’ Multi-use Rip Fence JIG. Well, sort of… After completing the Rip Fence JIG with the melamine fences, I noticed that my 1 inch long machine screws, or bolts that fasten the disposable fences to the JIG’s base unit were a bit too long. Either I counterbored the holes in which they insert or simply I bought the machine screws a bit too long.

Since Bob did not comment or list the sizes of his machine screws, I made an assumption of what size and length I should purchase for my JIG. I bought severn stainless steel machine screws of the following size: 3/8” – 16 by 1 inch long. About 1/8 of an inch pokes out the other end. I am concerned that might cut or mar the surface of my SawStop fence. Therefore, I went back to my “go to” local hardware store to purchase 3/4 inch length versions of these machine screws. Not only did I find the stainless steel versions, there were 10 screws in the store so I bought them all. I also found black versions of same screw size. I bought all eight this store had on hand. In addition, since my spindles arrived yesterday so I could replace the too short spindles in my two toggle clamps and those were obviously too long, I bought two pairs of M8 1.25 machine bolts in two sizes so I can replace the too long spindles I received yesterday. I bought two machine bolts with Hex heads at 70 mm lengths and two at 75 mm lengths. One of these pairs will fit my toogle clamp application perfectly.

I will replace the machine screws and the spindles on my rip fence jig early in the morning tomorrow.

Gluded and Screwed Hardwood strip to top of two melamine fences.

I was worried about any glue not working well in my need to fasten a hardwood fence to the top of the melamine fence. The melamine is a non-porous substance. It would allow glue to adhere to it. Instead I decided to my new MDF fence on this rip fence JIG. I buried the blade into the MDF fence so only a small portion would scratch or cut a surface I would push past it. I also adjust the height of the blade into the MDF fence so it would cut on inch high. After getting satisfactory results with a test piece, I cut the melamine clean on both melamine fences. The photos below shows the results.

Now with the particle board showing I could get a good glue surface been

-- --- Happy Howie

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485 posts in 3108 days

#7 posted 05-19-2016 02:58 AM

Today I replaced the machine screws I originally placed in this JIG. I replaced the 3/8” – 16 by 1 1/4” long stainless steel button head screws with 1 inch long screws. The longer screws protruded about an 1/8 inch beyond the T-nuts. I was concerned that these protrusions may damage or mark the SawStop T-fence. The 1 inch long screw fall short of this protrusion. I had also attempted to use 3/4 inch long screws. Some of those worked but some would not engage into the T-nuts; therefore this shorter length screw was not used.

Rear view of the jig with the toggle clamps plus the top T-nuts.

Front view of mulit-use rip fence jig.

On my north JIG wall now hangs the additional disposable fences. On the left are the MDF fences and on the right are the two tall melamine fences that will be used to cut tenons.

-- --- Happy Howie

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